Baby boomers – an untapped money pit for the travel industry
It is well documented that baby boomers travel. A lot. Baby Boomers are my generation, and we can be very difficult to please.
Who are the baby boomers?
When the 2nd World War finished, and service men AND women returned home, for some reason there was a population revolution. We are the result: the baby boomers. The official period for our ‘generation is from 1947 – 1965. We baby boomers are considered to be the generation that “had it all”, and personally I can see no problem with that. Our parents worked hard to make sure that we had a good education and that we felt free to express our views. Under lying this no doubt, was that we would settle down and get a good job, have kids etc … and we did .. eventually. The 1960’s and 70’s were a huge period for baby boomers – think Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, contraceptive pill, free tertiary education, Beatles and music and more music. This was the time of rebellion and this continues in many respects in that many will not accept 2nd best.
Why baby boomers are problematic for the travel industry?
The thing is that we baby boomers grew up butting heads with authority, had alternative lifestyles that our kids would not recognize nor choose to know about. Many of us had a free university education giving us time to protest anything that looked moderately conservative. We as baby boomers did however settle down eventually, worked hard and accumulated wealth and comfort. Now we want to spend it … on ourselves. Selfish? Maybe. One thing I do know is that we valued education for our children as our parents had for us, and we provided them with opportunities to grow and to develop in whatever fields they wanted. We still continue to dominate culture, and economics. Many of us are fit, free and financial enough to do what we want. Many are now at that stage of retiring meaning that there will be a mass exodus from the workforce but importantly, a demand that our needs and wants be met. Travel is a huge factor in what baby boomers want.
The problem child of the baby boomer period
Mainstream travellers wanting to do cruises or organised trips have a plethora of choices and do not or should not settle for 2nd best. This is a fiercely competitive marketplace. Every newspaper, online site and travel authority are dedicated to wooing these mainstream travellers. This demographic of the baby boomers are a little easier, although it is just as a competitive realm. But .. it is the travellers like us who are growing exponentially, who organize our own travels because we have the tools at our disposal to do this, and that the travel industry do not know what to do with. They do know one thing – that they want our money but they do not know how to get it. What can they give us that we cannot get for ourselves? We are probably in the too hard basket but that pot of money is keeping them scratching their heads.
What do we want?
I do not have all of the answers for the travel industry because I can do it myself and I do. Information is a great thing to give anyone. Some tourism boards in some countries are shining where this is concerned. While we are not working for them, but would love to, iamsterdam do a really good job at putting all resources at our finger tips, either with apps or user friendly forms of information. I also think that My Switwerland Tourism is also very informative and witty in their deliveries as well. It is enjoyable going to both those sites. So yes, information is important to us to make our travels more varied and bespoke. Airbnb who we are also not working for but would love to, are a clever little operation that baby boomers are getting into. Do we want to stay in a houseboat this week, an old regency flat in London the next, a curious little B&B in Ghent, well yes we can? This is not just a baby boomer area but also one that suits us, the difficult baby boomers. So how are you going to get your hands on our money travel industry? I like you, am scratching my head.